Emboozlement, Laughriot Press, a McCall & Company e-book novel by Rich Leder.
Kate McCall is an actress participating regularly as a member of the D-Cup Company in their off-, off-, off-Broadway productions. She also is owner of McCall & Company, a PI firm and .45 Cal. automatic inherited from father Jimmy who had been killed by a hired killer. She was 45 years old, a superb boxer because her dad, a sports fan, had insisted, manager of an apartment complex and a teen-age mother of a now Assistant District Attorney, who, along with the NYPD were not in the least happy with her PI activities. The story follows Kate and her Zany friends/employees/neighbors/co-actors as she meanders through her theatrical performances while attempting to find the culprit who is embezzling large sums of money from a popular sports bar, developing a possible romantic attachment to the owner and also investigating murders in a high priced law firm owned and operated by two married couples with secretes of their own – the murderer employing the same modus operandi as that of her father’s murderer.
The author has a lengthy list of credits for production of humorous books, TV and big screen films and has set forth here another in this same vein with a quirky protagonist, weird plots for her zany characters’ productions, and wacky parts for them to play in her supposedly serious attempts to bring her cases to a satisfactory conclusion. A tremendous number of loose ends remain at the story’s end, but if a reader enjoys a totally unconventional, even nonsensical romp, you’ll love this one.
5* For readers who enjoy a totally oddball read.
Wallace Street, is a mystery novel in e-book format by Tess Devlin.
The story line follows the lives of a large number of the poor inhabitants of a severely depressed neighborhood in 1950’s Chicago. A few are fortunate enough to have jobs. Some are too uninterested to try to obtain them. Several are alcoholics, the wives often are abused and the children are plentiful. They proceed through their daily lives in a mostly uninteresting mundane fashion except for a couple of gossip worthy residents and a bright spot weekly Bingo game for the ladies and penny poker for the men. Their routine existence suddenly is shattered when one of the children is savagely murdered and the community comes together to attempt to aid one another to cope. A large cast of characters is involved, each with his/her individual problem described in some detail and the reader easily is brought to the realization that the community and many of its members will never again be the same. The tale’s finalé is quite interesting and, unless you read a lot of mysteries and note the lightly emphasized descriptions, probably quite unexpected.
Discussion: The mechanics of design basically are well done with often an entire chapter devoted to describing a family, their interrelationships and individual/collective problems. The police aggressive activity with respect to interrogation is modified but appropriate to the era as is their sloppy case handling. Similarly well done are the depiction of a cop dedicated to his beat and the individuals within, his ability to overlook minor infractions and the uneasy relationship that he develops and maintains with the area’s hoodlums. The one difficulty encountered by this reviewer was the occasional unexpected manner of switching from one to another of the many characters as they pursue some past or present activity and some other minor faults that more meticulous editing could have avoided.
Conclusion: Intriguing human interest story offering many opportunities for further development.
4* Intriguing human interest story immersed in a murder mystery.